HARARE -- The Chinese government handed over the refurbished Zimbabwe national sports stadium to the Zimbabwean government on Saturday.
The stadium was built with the assistance of the Chinese government in 1987, but had been closed for renovations for the past three years.
Chinese amabssador to Zimbabwe Xin Shunkang handed over the new-look 60,000-seat stadium to the Zimbabwean government at a colorful ceremony where the government was represented by Media, Information and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu, Public Works Minister Teresa Makone and several senior government officials.
The Chinese ambassador revealed that the refurbishment was done at a total cost of 10 million US dollars.
He hailed bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and China, saying these had continued to expand over the years.
"The construction and refurbishment of the stadium cement the traditional friendship between our two countries," he said.
Vice President Joice Mujuru thanked the Chinese government for renovating the stadium and for its assiatnce in other areas of the economy.
She said the extensive work done by the Chinese contractors had transformed the stadium into a world class sports stadium.
"The installation of new state of the art electronic and electrical equipment as well as the overhauling of civil works has enabled the stadium to meet the Confederation of African Football standards," she said in a speech read on her behalf.
The vice president hailed Zimbabwe's "Look East" policy through which it has sought to deepen cooperation with Asian countries including China.
Minister Makone reassured that the Zimbabwean government will strive to maintain the stadium and keep in good condition.
"The national sports stadium shall be in the hands of the Government of Zimbabwe and it will be run professionally," she said.
Among others, China Jiangsu, the Chinese contractors, refurbished the VIP lounge, upgraded two substations, installed a new scoreboard complete with control room and replaced all ablution facilities.
Two football pitches were also overhauled while part of the tarmac was resurfaced.